Author / John


As promised in the Warm Up, Warm Up? post, we deliver to Power Athlete Nation the first of a 4 part warm up series.  This movement demo covers “the home position” of the Dead Bug.

Ethan is a Power Athlete lackey and the official #BALBOAJACKED custodial specialist. While on his way to clean up a mess, I get him into “the home position” of the Dead Bug and give you an extremely effective method to develop the ability to mobilize your trunk while actively stretching your hamstrings.   He steals the show here casually knocking out a 2 minute dead bug.

How do you get better at Dead Bugs?  Do more Dead Bugs.

The primary thing to focus on as you work on these is trunk position.  You need to keep your “spine painted on the ground.”  If your:

  1. low back starts to come off the ground
  2. ribs elevate
  3. tailbone comes off the ground
  4. neck “cranes” / cervical spine goes into extension
  5. head comes off the ground
  6. knees go into flexion to release the hammy stretch
  7. hips go into extension to release the hammy stretch

… then you have failed.  Basically, if your position changes, you fail.  Either get back into position immediately or rest until you are capable of regaining the good position.

Now, assuming you have good trunk position we need to challenge that.  How we do that is by flexing your hips as much as you can with your tail bone on the ground while maintaining locked quads and dorsiflexed feet.  Ethan’s feet are also “forward” relative to a standing position.  If you are duck footed may God have mercy on your soul you will need to actively internally rotate your legs from your hips.

Your ability to mobilize your trunk during the active hamstring stretch in “the home position” and in any subsequent progression of the Dead Bug will transfer over to your ability to mobilize your trunk in the primary lifts: Squat, deadlift, press, bench, and power clean.

Try it out.  How long can you hold the home position of the Dead Bug without breaking?

Fun fact, when we refer to the trunk we refer to everything from your head to your hips.  Some people call this a core but John Welbourn hates it when people refer to his mid-section as a “core”…

“Apples have cores.  Don’t compare me to an apple.”


Share this article


John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.


  1. Craig on June 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm


  2. Tex on June 13, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Ethan, are those toes forward?! Demerits!

  3. Kevin Doyle on June 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Dead Bugs are part of our routine since the Providence Cert! Thanks for the great weekend Cali, Ben & Luke! The whole gym is on the Ameture Template, we re going to put what we learned into practice!

  4. Russ Greene on June 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    What do you guys mean by “mobilize” in this context? Thanks.

    • luke on June 17, 2013 at 8:40 am

      We’re talking about organizing your trunk into a good position and maintaining that position throughout the duration of the static hold or any subsequent progressions.

  5. Russ Greene on June 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks, Luke. Got it.

  6. June 18th, 2013 | Crossfit Snohomish on June 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    […] *30 seconds static Dead bug […]

  7. Trevor de Souza on July 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Awesome stuff.. thanks guys! keep it coming!

  8. Tom Charrier on August 20, 2013 at 5:35 am

    So should we be benching with this position in mind? I had thought (from watching Dave Tate videos I think) that a good lumbar arch was beneficial when benching. He seems to promote a huge, if not over emphasised arch. I’m not clear on the differences /pros and cons of each.
    Is it that this position carries over better to the athletic position and being upright and pushing etc, whilst the big arch is more about just benching big for the sake of it (ie powerlifting)? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

  9. January 24th, 2014 | Crossfit Snohomish on January 23, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    […] Accumulate 3 minutes in a perfect Dead Bug […]

  10. Ian Ackerman on April 4, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Are these videos posted elsewhere? This link is dead. Would love to see the video!

  11. Berek Bryan on September 1, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Ditto on Ian’s comment the video does not seem to work anymore. I can’t really find a dead bug video I like. Is there another video?

Leave a Comment


Never miss out on an epic blog post or podcast, drop your email below and we’ll stay in-touch.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.